BEETON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 6, 2012) - Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz sat down with farmers from the Simcoe-Grey area today to get their input on agriculture policies and to let them know about the many ways that the Harper Government is creating economic growth and prosperity. Local member of Parliament Dr. Kellie Leitch (Simcoe-Grey) hosted the roundtable discussion.
"Our government remains focused on creating jobs, growth, and long-term economic prosperity for all Canadians," said Minister Ritz. "Through Economic Action Plan 2012, our government is providing responsible, targeted investments that help create opportunity for our farm families."
Minister Ritz highlighted the Harper Government initiatives that are helping farmers make their living from the marketplace, become more innovative, and better manage risk. These initiatives include:
- A $50-million Agricultural Innovation Program to facilitate innovation and adoption of new products, technologies, and processes that enhance economic growth, productivity, and competitiveness;
- Opening, reopening, and expanding market access for Canadian farmers and producers, who last year exported agriculture products valued at more than $44 billion;
- A $500-million loan program through Farm Credit Canada to ensure that young and beginning farmers can start or grow their businesses; and
- Strong and consistent defense of Canada's supply management system.
Building on industry's call for more market access, market development, and innovation, Minister Ritz and MP Leitch used the opportunity to consult on the next suite of agriculture programing. Just as farmers review their business practices on a regular basis, the Harper Government is reviewing its programs to make sure they will help the sector become more competitive over the long term. As the outlook for the agriculture sector is positive, with many commodities currently experiencing record high incomes and showing strong growth prospects, the time is right to make sure that agriculture programs are having the greatest impact on the future. The Government will continue to invest in science and innovation to keep Canadian farmers efficient and competitive, while also providing predictable, stable, and bankable programs to help farmers weather disasters.
"Our government will continue to help farmers when they are faced with difficult weather or market situations," said MP Leitch. "A key part of that commitment is making sure that farmers have the crops, technology, and tools to be most efficient and return the greatest dividend to their farm gate. We are working with farmers to make sure that their long-term vision of a robust and competitive sector is reflected in the next suite of programs."
This roundtable was part of ongoing consultations with farmers and agricultural stakeholders.